On the very same day GamePolitics broke the news that NCsoft had dropped its membership in the Entertainment Software Association, Mike Gallagher, CEO of the game publishers trade association, predicted that new, "exciting" member companies would join the ranks of the ESA.
Gallagher's comments came during an appearance on C-SPAN's The Communicators on Saturday.
Gallagher was interviewed by C-SPAN's Pedro Echevarria along with Mike Musgrove, who often writes about games for the Washington Post.
The half-hour program, which touched on a number of issues, is worth a look. Here are samples of Gallagher's comments:
How the ESA looks at the incoming Obama Administration:
If you look at President-elect Obama's technology platform, he specifically calls out protection of intellectual property overseas, but also protection of intellectual property at home. So, we're encouraged by what we see there. We also just had the PRO-IP act passed which places an intellectual property coordinator in the White House. So, we're very encouraged by that...
Whether the ESA will pursue RIAA-style IP enforcement tactics against consumers:
[Game cosnumers] see great value in paying the price points for the software that we make... We're in a far different position than music... Our companies have seen that threat coming and we've built some protections in. We also have a better value equation with our consumer and with our customer so we look to foster and grow that as our primary means of defeating piracy, making sure it's always worth it to buy the game, as opposed to burning it.
Whether industry self-regulation of its content rating system is working:
It's not me saying it, it's the Federal Trade Commission says it. In May they issued their report which was very strongly in favor of the industry. And then just recently, the National Institute on Media and the Family issued their annual assessment of the industry and gave the ESRB and retailers very high marks...
The future direction of ESA:
You'll continue to see a strong focus on federal and state policy... In the states, we're seeing tremendous opportunity. Gov. Rick Perry from Texas came to E3, our trade show... he came with the idea of attracting more of our [business]. Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan passed tax incentives to attract our industry...
Gallagher's comments on ESA member companies dropping out:
That was Activision's decision to leave... We have a mission on behalf of this industry that we're going to execute on... We continue to have good communication with [Activision], but we're moving forward. We're going to see some interesting changes this year when it comes to membership. I think we'll be adding some members that will be exciting for ESA as well as the industry... Whether certain companies are in or out or not doesn't really change our focus.
Near the end of the program, Gallagher gets busted doing a bit of subtle anti-Activision lobbying:
Musgrove: Please give me something I can walk away with here. I know these are both represented companies of yours, but - Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero World Tour? They look kind of the same to me...
Gallagher: I've got to come down pretty heavily in favor of Rock Band 2. 84 tracks, it's a great product... Rock Band is really terrific...
Musgrove: Oh, wait a minute, Guitar Hero is from Activision and they're not in the ESA right now... (laughs)